Community orchard plan hits snag at council

Published on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Plans for a community orchard near the area referred to as “the 7th Street right-of-way” have been put on hold following legal concerns raised by Blaine City Council Monday.

In their regular meeting Monday, council members and city staff said they had concerns about long-term maintenance and legal issues. Blaine city planning director Michael Jones said the group of Blaine residents that spearheaded the idea, also known as CORE, is not a non-profit organization or a corporation and therefore is not legally identifiable, but that he and his staff will work with the group to come to a solution.

One of those solutions could be partnering with a local non-profit organization.

“We support the idea of a community orchard but there would be rights and responsibilities that go along with that and those need to go to someone or some entity specifically, and at this point, CORE isn’t really identifiable,” Jones said. “We’re hoping they’ll be able to partner with a non-profit that could take on those responsibilities and be the recipients of the permits.”

City council, however, gave a unanimous, unofficial nod of approval to the project if the CORE group is able to partner with a non-profit.

CORE organizer Kelle Sunter said she was disappointed in the outcome but understood the council’s concerns. 
“It gave us an incentive to move forward,” she said.

In the meantime, Sunter said individuals who would like to register their trees for gleaning can do so by calling Max Morange with the Small Potatoes Gleaning Project at 739-5274 or by visiting www.blaine-core.com.

“If someone has an apple tree they know is going to be ripe in August and a pear tree that’s going to be ripe in September, they can register a bunch of trees ahead of time with Max,” she said. “Or a bush or a vine.”